“Sopa de Couves” (Collard greens soup)… I heard this a lot growing up! Hi everyone, Nelson here today. Little did I know that years later, this would be on a top ten list of favourite dishes that take me back to my youth.
My mom made this soup often. The Azores islands can be chilly and humid during the winter, so this soup always hit the spot during the school year.
This is one of my dad’s favourite dishes in the world! My mom sometimes complained because he’d be asking her to make it again just a few days after the last time she cooked the soup. He liked it so much I started calling him “couveiro”. This might not seem funny for our non-Portuguese speaking friends, so let me explain. I called him “couveiro” because “couves” means collard greens. In my mind, it was kind of like calling him the “collard greens soup guy”. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that couveiro actually means grave-digger… not that their’s anything wrong with that profession, but it’s not at all relevant to my dad’s taste in this soup 🙂
It’s become meaningful to me that I like this soup as much as I do. It’s one of the special connections I have with my dad. Having my own kids now, I appreciate having special things (like traditions in food) that connect us and which I can pass along.
This soup is so hearty, it’s like a meal on it’s own. It’s full of flavour and t’s incredibly delicious. This soup isn’t hard to make, but it does require being around for a bit since it takes a while to cook.
Now that the weather’s cooler, get in the kitchen and make a pot of this amazing Azores comfort food and eat well, friends.
- 2.4 lbs beef. inside round oven roast
- 1 lbs beef shank centre cut
- ⅓ cup course salt
- 10 cups water
- ½ large onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups carrots chopped (half wheels)
- 1 tbs tomato paste
- 1¼ lbs collard greens (chopped in bite sized pieces)
- 3 large white potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- Cut inside round oven roast into large pieces. (one to two inch cubes)
- Salt pieces of meat and beef shank inside a large bowl. Evenly coat all pieces of meat with course salt.
- Place bowl with salted meat in the fridge for at least 3 hours or over night.
- Wash meat under cold water to remove all salt.
- Place the meat in a large pot and add water.
- Bring to a boil at medium high. Roughly 30 minutes.
- Skim residue off the top of the boiling water.
- Turn down to medium, cover and simmer for another 30 minutes.
- Add the onions, garlic, carrots, tomato paste and collard greens.
- Mix well, cover and simmer for another 2 hours.
- Add the potatoes.
- Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft when poked with a fork.
- Your soup is ready to serve. Make sure to add a piece or two of meat with each serving.
This soup is often made with beans. These can be added when adding the potatoes if using canned beans.
This soup also tastes great with a combination of beef and pork.
My mom sometimes pulses the hand blender a couple of times in the soup to give it a thicker consistency.
This soup keeps well in the fridge for 4 or 5 days. My dad believes it tastes better after a day or two.
In my opinion, the soup warms up best in a pot instead of the microwave.
I was caring for a older gentleman an he was from the Azores he grew his organic greens in his back yard he taught me how to cook this soup it’s a family favorite now.
Nelson Cardoso says
Thank you so much for sharing this story. It amazing how food can connect people. This is my dad’s favourite soup and I love it as well. Take care.
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. My mom made “Green Soup” and I always loved it. She passed away a few years ago, and I didn’t learn from her how to make it. I’ve tried a few other recipes and a friend from the Azores (lives here) tried to coach me over the phone, but it has never turned out right. Yours looks much more like my mom’s method…I can’t wait to try it!!!
Nelson Cardoso says
Hi Susan, I’m sorry for your loss. I’m thrilled that you found us and our recipe. I hope it turns out similar to your moms. Feel free to tweak things to make it more like hers. This recipe is quite forgiving. All the best.